Saturday, December 31, 2011

Concussion Sidelines Steen

Bad news for the St. Louis Blues, as they will be without forward Alex Steen for at least the next week, as the Swedish forward is dealing with concussion-like symptoms and will likely have to follow the league protocol for them.  Steen missed out on Friday night's game against the Predators, because of the injury and will be out until at least late next week, so I wouldn't be counting on him to do too much at the moment.

Steen has been good for the Blues, scoring at about his expected rate this year, which sees him with 13 goals and 11 assists in 36 games, which is good for 111th in pool scoring, through Friday night's action. Steen has been one of the Blues' better forwards this year, so he will certainly be missed with this injury, especially as the team fights to stay healthy in the playoff race in the Western Conference.

ImplicationsThis comes as a significant blow to Stuart G.'s draft team, as his side is currently on the outside looking in on the money in 6th place, behind 5th by 17 points and the teams above his are also dealing with injuries.  Now that Stuart is dealing with a concussion on his team, he would seem less likely to pose a threat to the teams in the money and I would imagine that the teams below are licking their chops to leap frog over him.  Stuart holds a 7-point lead on 7th place, which would have less of a chance to hold with the new injury.

Duchene Out 4 Weeks

The MRI results came in for Matt Duchene and things are not as good as they could have been, although, they probably could have been much worse. The Avalanche expect to be without their top forward for the next four weeks, because of the knee injury that he suffered on Thursday night. There didn't appear to be too much in the way of specifics to the knee injury, but the time frame is what's more important, for us poolies, any way.

The Avalanche have not been great and that could be the cause of Duchene's lack of production or it could be vice versa, as the team relies heavily on the young centre. In 39 games, Duchene only has 12 goals and 12 assists, which is only good enough for 114th in pool scoring this year, having a scoring pace of 0.62 points-per-game. I believe in a lot of circles, there is plenty of belief that Duchene will be a point-per-game scorer in the NHL, but the team around him probably has to improve for him to get there.

ImplicationsThis is a big hit to another money team, as Dale C. will certainly miss Duchene from his roster, as he was counting on the Avalanche star to keep him in the conversation.  Dale currently sits in 4th place, 6 points behind 1st place and only 1 point better than 5th.  The loss of Duchene may certainly be significant, but it may not be enough to close up the 18-point gap between himself and 6th place.  Nevertheless, the designs on reaching the pinnacle of the standings may be put on hold for a while.

Sheet Player News (Dec. 31)

On Friday, the Anaheim Ducks sent Box 9 forward Kyle Palmieri back down to Syracuse of the AHL, opening up some space in their line-up for a bit more toughness. Palmieri has 1 goal and 1 assist in seven games with the Ducks this year, but with the team struggling as a whole, they are in need of something to liven up the play.  I would expect to see Palmieri back with the club before too long, but for now, the Ducks really need to find a better way to get their feet underneath them and get some wins.

The indications out of Detroit is that Red Wings Box 9 forward Darren Helm is dealing with a minor groin problem, which was enough to keep the speedster out of Friday night's game against the Blackhawks. He is currently listed as out day-to-day, hard to say when he is expected back at the moment.  Helm is an above-average player in Box 9 with 12 points in 36 games for the Red Wings, but I don't think anyone has him on their team, with some other rookie phenoms occupying the box.

Young Predators forward Colin Wilson was held out of Friday night's game against the St. Louis Blues because of a minor upper-body injury. The team has suggested that the Box 5 forward would be out for the one game, but that didn't sound overly confident.  Wilson has been okay for the Predators this year, scoring 8 goals and 14 assists in 37 games, ranking well in that box this year.  If you were to have Wilson, you wouldn't have the box leader in scoring, but you certainly wouldn't trade him away for someone who is scoring just slightly more.

The Phoenix Coyotes have decided to send Box 9 forward Andy Miele back to the minors, after a 1-game call-up this week to the big club. Miele hasn't been much of an impact player since his off-season signing, but that goes with the history of the Coyotes and their reluctance to have young players in their line-up. Miele has played in seven games this year, failing to register a point.  I would assume we would see Miele again before the end of the year, but it will likely be an injury replacement and it would also be for a short-term stay.

Ehrhoff Out With Upper-Body Injury

According to the Buffalo Sabres, defenseman Christian Ehrhoff was injured in a fight against the Capitals' Troy Brouwer in the 1st period of Friday night's game and the prognosis does not sound very good. Ehrhoff is expected to be out for 'weeks' with an upper-body injury, to which the specifics are not quite known.  The fight was more of a hugging match, so it would be safe to say Ehrhoff wasn't injured on a punch, but there may have been contact between his head and the ice, as they wrestled each other to the ground.  Hard to say.

Ehrhoff isn't quite having the season same kind of season that he did in Vancouver last season, but his 17 points (3 goals and 14 assists) in 37 games is quite respectable, ranking him 228th overall in pool scoring and 31st among all defensemen.  The Sabres haven't quite found their overall chemistry yet this season, between the new faces, plenty of injuries and other miscellaneous events, so the individuals have suffered somewhat in their scoring.

ImplicationsIn the draft, Ehrhoff belongs to the 5th place team of Dale B.'s, which is still in striking distance of the leaders.  From 1st to 5th is only 7 points now, as everyone has caught up to everyone else and Dale is still sitting okay, with the worst week among the money leaders.  The loss of Ehrhoff could be damaging, especially with the loss of Dustin Byfuglien this week as well.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Wisniewski Breaks Ankle

Another horrible turn of bad luck for Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski, who suffered a broken ankle while blocking a shot on Thursday night against the Dallas Stars and it looks like he'll be out for the long-term.  There was no immediate word as to what the team expects for time away from the line-up, but the coaching staff did suggest that the could be back before the end of the season, but with how well the team has fared to this point and how bad they were without him, that may not be a comfort to many people.

Wisniewski missed the first eight games of the season due to a suspension, which forced his season to date to be reduced to 29 games, where he has scored 2 goals and 15 assists, which isn't too bad.  Unfortunately, the team around him were unable to gain any chemistry and so the rest of his numbers really suffered.  Thankfully, for pool purposes, we won't get into those, because they are somewhat moot.

In the 2011 season, Wisniewski was the 5th best defenseman with 51 points in 75 games, but he will be nowhere near that this year, but may still need to be considered highly, when the fantasy drafts roll around again in September, if you're looking for a possible bargain.

ImplicationsThis is terrible news for Niesa S., who took the gamble on the high-scoring defenseman, even with the suspension on his head.  Wisniewski was getting closer to rewarding her with getting back up to the ranks where he was actually taken, which would have made her gamble look pretty good.  Unfortunately, that won't be the case in the end, rather Niesa will have to sit tight for the second waiver draft, where she'll have to find someone else to fill his spot, but that is still over a month away.

As of Friday morning, Niesa sits in a tie for 8th place, with the tie-breaker in her favour, at 300 points.  Her team is 26 points out of the money and 12 points up on 10th place.

Draft Player News (Dec. 30)

A rut in the ice caught Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene by surprise in a quick stopping motion and it appears that Duchene suffered an injury in the incident. Duchene had to leave the game against the Phoenix Coyotes in the 2nd period and he wasn't able to return.  The last word that I had seen before this post was that he is due for an MRI on Friday and I would imagine that he would be listed as doubtful for Saturday's game in Anaheim.  Let's call him day-to-day, until there is an update from the team.

In the draft, you have to know that Dale C. is holding his breath waiting for positive news, as he is in the mix for the money, dropping down to 5th place on Thursday night.  Missing a game wouldn't be too bad, since there is still a gap between 5th and 6th, but if this is a long-term problem, this could be huge.

Dallas Stars captain Brendan Morrow reportedly suffered a knee injury after taking a puck to his left leg, a knee that has seen its share of problems over the last couple of seasons.  Morrow left the game in the 3rd period and was not able to return and is scheduled to be re-evaluated on Friday, likely with an update coming either late in the afternoon or on Saturday morning, before they face the Boston Bruins in a New Year's Eve tilt.  It may be fair to also consider him doubtful for Saturday's game, but he'll also be listed as day-to-day until further notice.

Morrow belongs to Benson G. in the draft this year, who's team has hovered in the middle of the standings for the better part of the year.  Benson currently stands in 9th place, only 26 points out of the money, but if this injury is something a little more long-term, then this could hurt his chances of staying in the top 10, let alone jumping up in the morning.

Things haven't been getting much better in the desert and Derek Morris knows this first hand, as he was a healthy scratch again for the club, knowing full well that he has got to be much better for his team, instead of being a candidate for staying up in the press box for games.  Morris only has 7 assists in 35 games this season, which is very poor for him and the Coyotes are trying to spark something in him with the move upstairs.

Morris belongs to Darren S. in the pool this year and his team is currently in the running for the Basement Dweller again in Week Thirteen, with only 8 points through Thursday's action.  The gap between himself and 21st in the standings is now 21 points.

An awkward fall into the boards on Tuesday night against the Flyers is the reported cause of Victor Hedman's upper-body injury, which kept him out of Thursday night's game against the Canadiens.  There is no immediate timetable for the young defenseman's return to the line-up, which obviously means there is no word on his availability for Saturday night's game at home to Carolina.  This is all we know at the moment.

Allan S.'s team plays host to Hedman in the pool this season and his team is having a bit of a drop-off week, as his team has only collected 7 points this week.  Allan's team was trying to climb back into the top 10 with a good week after a meteoric fall down to 14th from the money.  An injured Hedman just adds to a very poor performance from his blueline this year.

Sheet Player News (Dec. 30)

A poor start to the season in his limited action and losing out a minutes battle with a called-up goalie has forced the hand of the Dallas Stars to demote back-up goaltender Andrew Raycroft, as he was sent down to the Texas Stars of the AHL on Thursday morning.  The Stars welcomed Kari Lehtonen back to their crease on Thursday night and Richard Bachman has won the job over Raycroft after playing some great hockey, while Lehtonen was on the shelf with his groin injury.  Raycroft was not a popular player on the selection sheet this year, so there shouldn't be much loss in this demotion.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Byfuglien Expected to Miss a Week

A lower-body injury has sidelined Jers defenseman Dustin Byfuglien for what the team believes will be a week.  Byfuglien was held out of the line-up on Tuesday night, when the Jets took on the Avalanche and after practice on Thursday, the team made the announcement about Byfuglien and gave some updates on other injured players.

A week should have Byfuglien back for the January 5th game in Toronto, missing three more games in the process.

This season hasn't quite been the same offensive marvel that we saw out of him when he was playing in Atlanta, but he is still posting some decent numbers in the 2012 season.  In 35 games, the hulking defender has 6 goals and 18 assists, which is good enough for 114th in pool scoring on Thursday afternoon, 5th among all defensemen.

Last season, Byfuglien finished 101st in pool scoring, 4th among all defensemen, so he is about on pace to where he was, rankings-wise, in the 2012 season.

ImplicationsAn injury with implications among the money teams.  Dale B., who currently holds down 3rd place in the pool will be without his top defenseman for a few more games, which may cost him a few points in the week, which could be costly, since Dale is only 2 points up on 5th place and 1 point up on 4th.  There is a bit of room to fall here.  For argument's sake, Dale only trails 1st place by 10 points and 2nd by 5 points, so it will be interesting to see what this has cost Dale in the end.

Russell Out With Groin Injury

The St. Louis Blues announced that defenseman Kris Russell has been placed on the Injured Reserve, because of a groin injury that he suffered on Tuesday night against the Red Wings.  Russell will be re-evaluated in about three weeks, giving us a small idea of when there might be a possibility of him coming back to the line-up.  There is no guarantee that the evaluation will give him the green light to return, but it will certainly be a good jumping off point.

Russell has split time between Columbus and St. Louis this season, playing in 33 games between the two clubs.  He has scored 5 goals and 3 assists in that time, which is good for 404th in pool scoring this season, well outside where he was projected to be this year, which is one of the key reasons why he was traded early on this year.

I would expect Russell to miss somewhere around 10-to-14 games, if the three weeks is anywhere near accurate, which will certainly hurt his overall point totals, possibly making him worthy of being dropped.

ImplicationsAnother day, another hit to Darren S.'s pool team, which has not had any luck.  The gap between him and 20th place is now 19 points, going point-for-point with his nearest rival, Derek W., in the weekly scoring race.  Not much more needs to be said at this time.

Sekera to Miss Weeks

The Buffalo Sabres coaching staff are not expecting to have defenseman Andrej Sekera in their line-up for a significant period of time after he was boarded by Devils forward Eric Boulton on Wednesday night. Sekera left the game in the 2nd period and was unable to return to the game.  After the contest, Lindy Ruff gave an update for the Slovak, saying that Sekera has a bad enough injury to force him to miss weeks.

In 36 games with the Sabres, Sekera has 2 goals and 6 assists, which is currently good enough to rank him 415th in pool scoring, through Wednesday night's action.  The Sabres have not been offensive dynamos this season, which was likely the leading reason why Sekera would have been taken in the pool, trying to find some of those residual points from transition rushes, but they just haven't happened much this year.

ImplicationsThis now makes three out of four defensemen on the shelf for Wes M. at the moment, as he has yet to see any action from either Marc Staal or Andrei Markov this year.  With only two working defensemen this year, Wes is currently last in the pool for points from the blueline with 22, which only accounts for 8.6% of his total points, which is also a pool-low.

Through Wednesday night, Wes currently ranks in 15th in the draft, 9 points back of 14th place, 26 points out of the top 10.

Sheet Player News (Dec. 29)

Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon apparently suffered a serious enough injury, after getting checked from behind this week by the Avalanche's Cody McLeod, that he will be held out of the line-up for a short period of time.  The general speculation suggests that Spurgeon suffered a leg injury on the play, but for the time being, he is just being said to be out day-to-day with a lower-body injury.  Spurgeon is having a decent season so far, racking up 15 points in 37 games for the Wild, ranking at about the middle of the pack in Box 11 this year.

With some bodies getting healthy on the New York Rangers blueline, it was a fairly simple decision to have Box 30 defenseman Tim Erixon sent back down to the Connecticut Whale of the AHL on Wednesday night. Erixon has yet to figure in any of the scoring for the Rangers, after playing in 13 games for the club this season.  The 20-year old defenseman still has some room to grow in his professional hockey career and he would be better served to grow in the minors, especially with how well the Rangers are doing at the moment.